Workshop on Wellness Tourism and Release of Accreditation Standards for Wellness Centers

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Ministry of Tourism is organizing an All India workshop on promotion of Wellness Tourism in Delhi tomorrow.

This workshop is being organized with the active participation of Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Services (NABH). The event is being organized to define the areas of development in the wellness industry and strategize with the help of the industry for defining the road map for the government for next few years.

Union Minister of Tourism Shri Subodh Kant Sahay will inaugurate the workshop and Shri Sultan Ahmed Minister of State for Tourism would be the Guest of Honour. They will also release the Accreditation Standards for Wellness Centers on the occasion. These Standards have been prepared by NABH and are already approved by the Department of AYUSH.

Over 150 participants representing the captains of the wellness industry have been invited to the workshop and to deliberate on the issues concerning Ayurveda wellness Centers, Spas, Skincare Centers, Cosmetic Care Centers, Gymnasiums, Fitness Centers, preventive health care Centers, yoga centers etc. The objective of this workshop is to evolve a road map for formulating strategies for development and promotion of wellness tourism to position India as the leading destination for wellness tourism, incorporating the country’s natural attributes like Yoga, Ayurveda, Siddha, well developed Spas etc., increase visitation, length of stay and expenditure by wellness visitors and increased professionalism and excellence amongst those delivering wellness experience.

The participants have been divided into four groups to deliberate on the four topics namely; Accreditation and Way ahead, Capacity Building and Training of wellness professionals, Promotion of different components of wellness and Promotion of wellness tourism in India and abroad.

After deliberations, each group is expected to give Five to Six recommendations which would be then further shared with the entire participants for further deliberations. Thus finally five recommendations under each area would be presented to Ministry of Tourism as the road map for further development of the industry.

Accreditation Standards for Wellness Centers provide framework for quality of care for customers and quality improvement for Wellness Centers. The standards help to build a quality culture at all level and across all the functions of Wellness Centre. NABH Standards has ten chapters incorporating 84 standards and 396 objective elements. Accreditation Standards for Wellness Centers contains complete set of standards for evaluation of Wellness Centers for grant of accreditation. The standards focus on all aspects of service delivery like customer rights and education, infection control practices, trained and experienced staff, infrastructure, environment safety, processes and controls and statutory and regulatory compliances.

India, as the world knows, is a Wellness destination. The potential of wellness systems, developed through centuries of wisdom of this ancient civilization would be fully tapped. This is being done by positioning India as a centre of Ayurveda, Yoga, Siddha, Naturopathy, etc. together with the spiritual philosophy that has been integral to the Indian way of life. The Ministry of Tourism has highlighted wellness in a big way through publicity and promotional activities.

The quality of service involved with tourism plays an important role in the process of delivery. Service quality is an intangible, but crucial, area of interest to travel service providers. Accreditation Standards for Wellness Centers provide framework for quality of care for customers and quality improvement for Wellness Centers.

The growth of Tourism in the country and also demand for wellness centers has led to sudden surge in the Wellness centers across the country. Mushrooming of wellness centers in country has therefore given rise to the concern for quality service and standards to be followed by these centers. Therefore there was a need to have a system of accreditation in place that would be uniform nationwide and this has been fulfilled by NABH/ AYUSH coming up with these guidelines. The Ministry of Tourism has also extended its Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme to wellness tourism service providers including accredited wellness centers. Presently the wellness centers accredited by State Tourism Departments are also eligible for the MDA. After the accreditation guideless of NABH is in place all wellness centers seeking MDA would be asked to be as close to the accredition guidelines of NABH as possible .The Initiative of accreditation of wellness centre by NABH and AYUSH has been greatly driven be the Ministry of Tourism through a series of meeting with the Wellness Tourism service Providers, State Governments and other Stakeholders.

Availability of skilled manpower is a major challenge faced by the travel and tourism industry in India today. This shortage extends to the Wellness Sector also. There is no defined curriculum for training of therapist in the wellness centers. The wellness industry has no alternative but to fill the void with untrained resources. Such a high proportion of untrained manpower would adversely affect quality of services offered to the tourists. Attrition, shortage of wellness therapist training infrastructure, qualified trainers, and lack of proper strategies and policies for human resource development will have an effect on the industry. The industry needs to address these problems at the earliest .This workshop would address the training needs of wellness sector.

The Ministry is developing Haridwar- Rishikesh as well as Puducherry as Wellness Centers, to give visitors a complete experience which is physically healing, spiritually enriching and mentally rejuvenating.

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